Zimbabweans should determine their election dates: US Ambassador

The decision to hold elections in the country solely lies in the hands of Zimbabweans, says Ambassador US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray.

Charles Ray
Charles Ray

He made these remarks on the sidelines of the commissioning of new American Corner in the city of Mutare today.

Ambassador Ray, however, said there are certain things that should be put in place first for the election to be credible in the eyes of the people.

He said lack of certain issues such as free media, freedom of association and intimidation will cast a doubt on the possibility free and fair elections.

Ray said media should be professional and free to report and disseminate information with fear or bias and everyone should have equal opportunity to access media.

“The decision lies upon Zimbabweans to say the country is ready to hold elections. There are certain that things should be in place for an election to be credible in the eyes of the electorate,” he said.

He dismissed the assertion by Zanu (PF) that the restrictive measures have completely paralysed the country`s entire economy, saying trade between Zimbabwe and United States has increased to a double digit from 13 percent to 20 percent.

“There is over $300 000 million worth of investment by American business people in the country,” he said, adding that Zimbabwe has also a quota to export its goods to USA duty free.

Ray said continuing talking of such issues given the above circumstances does not have meaning to him.

He also said US government has also been working with Ministry of Agriculture to support 120 000 vulnerable families across the country with resources.

“The restrictive measures may affect but we don’t stop support to individuals and families. It`s not true to say many things are restricted, he said.

There is a discord in the inclusive government about holding of elections. President Robert Mugabe is insisting on holding elections this year before a new democratic constitution while his foe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is insisting on putting necessary reforms to avoid a disputed plebiscite.

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  1. Pythias Makonese

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